10 frugal living ideas

Lots of us are looking to tighten our belts during these difficult times, and the good news is there are plenty of simple steps we can take towards living a more frugal lifestyle.

We asked our brilliant Rest Less Community for frugal living ideas, and received some fantastic and creative responses.

Here’s our round up of some of the best.

Upsize your shopping

It’s worth stocking up on the larger sizes of household goods where possible as these tend to be much cheaper than smaller sizes. If you live alone, you could still buy larger sizes and share them with family, splitting the cost between you all. One of our members reported buying a 32 pack of toilet paper earlier this year for just £10 (32p per roll), when a four-pack usually costs around £2 or 50p per roll – a saving of more than a third.

Reuse plastic rather than buying storage containers

When freezing food, instead of buying plastic containers, use empty margarine tubs (500g size) as these are a good ‘one’ portion size. Old takeaway pots can also make great tupperware alternatives…

Save on cleaning products

Rather than splashing out on expensive cleaning products, often things you already have in your store cupboard will do the job just as well. For example, if you use tablets to clean your washing machine, baking soda is a cheaper alternative and does a great job of preventing limescale build up. Similarly, if you need to clean your windows, you can do so using a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. This not only helps you avoid the use of harsh chemicals, but also saves you the cost of buying a special window cleaning product. Using newspaper to clean windows is also effective.

Recycle Christmas cards

Don’t throw this year’s Christmas cards away as they can be re-used as gift tags next year. All you need is a pair of scissors, a hole punch and some string. Cut the images on each card out, make a hole and thread the string through and there you go – gift tags ready to go for next year.

Make do and mend

Many of us just throw away items when they are broken, even though there might be a way to fix them easily. Before you throw something out and buy a new replacement, see if you might be able to repair the item. You can usually find tips on how to repair pretty much anything online, with YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest all great for providing inspiration and advice on fixing things, or recycling them to use as something else.  

Be comfortable with the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’

Some of our members say that they eat food that’s past its sell-by date to reduce food wastage, but if you’re planning to do this you must be careful and make sure you don’t give yourself food poisoning. If a product has a ‘use by’ date shown on it then you really must consume it by this date, as after this it may not be safe to eat or freeze, even if it smells and looks okay. If however, a product shows a ‘best before’ date this usually means the food will be at its best if eaten before this date, but not that it will be unsafe to eat afterwards.

Write a menu plan

Writing a meal plan each week can really help cut down on food waste. Work out what you’re going to have for every meal and only buy these items – that way you won’t end up having to throw anything out at the end of the week because it’s gone off.

Grow your own food

If you have access to a garden or an allotment, consider growing some of your own fruit and vegetables to keep your food costs down. One of our enterprising Community members says she approached a local landowner who owns a paddock next to her house and agreed with him that in return for her mowing the plot and keeping it tidy, she could grow vegetables, and put a greenhouse and shed on it. The paddock now has three apple and three pear trees from which our member has preserved jars and jars of different jams and pickles. She’ll also be picking some rosehips to make rosehip syrup which has massive amounts of vitamin C and so is very useful for winter.

Cut transport costs

If you regularly use your car to travel short distances, see if you can walk instead of driving. Not only will this help improve your fitness, but it will also reduce the amount you spend on fuel too. Of course, this won’t be practical for everyone, so if you do need your car to get around, make sure you don’t spend more than you need to filling it up by seeking out the garages offering the best deals on fuel. You can search for the cheapest fuel prices in your area at Petrolprices.com, which has data for nearly 8,500 petrol stations across the UK. Find out more about some of the different ways you can keep transport costs down here.

Use store loyalty points wisely

Many of us collect supermarket loyalty points when we shop, but rather than using them to get money off your shopping, they might be worth more if you use them for other rewards. One of our members says she uses her Tesco club card points to pay for her Tesco mobile bill, as this means her points are worth double the value they would be if she put them towards her grocery shopping.

We plan to regularly update this article, so if you have any of your own frugal living ideas, we’d love to hear them. You can join the conversation here or post a comment below.

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.

Save on your utility bills today

It’s never been quicker or easier to see what you could save on your household bills. If your existing deal is set to expire, it only takes a few minutes to compare deals and switch online.

Never forget a renewal date. Relax and we’ll let you know: set up your free reminders here.

Comments

Loading comments...

    Leave a reply

    Thanks, your comment has been saved. We will review it shortly, check back soon.

    Sorry, there was a problem saving your comment. Please refresh and try again.

    Get the latest ideas, advice and inspiration​

    No spam. Just useful and interesting stuff, straight to your inbox. Covering finance, learning, jobs, volunteering, lifestyle and more.

    By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

    Join Rest Less for free

    Rest Less is the UK’s fastest growing site for the over 50s, focusing on finance, learning, careers, volunteering, lifestyle and more. 

    Good luck with your application

    Before you go, we’d love to stay in touch to find out how you get on. Sign up to Rest Less today to get the latest volunteering, careers, learning, financial planning and lifestyle resources sent straight to your inbox.

    By providing your email you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time through the link in our emails.

    Good luck with your application

    Before you go, we’d love to stay in touch to find out how you get on. Sign up to Rest Less today to get the latest jobs, learning, volunteering, financial planning and lifestyle resources sent straight to your inbox.

    By providing your email you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time through the link in our emails.